The weather this last week was just what we needed to kick some fishing into gear. Sunny and unusually warm for early May is perfect for warming water temperatures and getting fish more active. And a set of the largest tides of the year didn't hurt either. Both beach fishing for Dolly Varden and creek fishing for steelhead took a big jump in the right direction.
Let's start with steelhead. Our mega snow pack has kept creeks flowing at ideal levels and the steelhead came storming in. Plus when they arrived there was enough deep water to allow them to hold comfortably. And when steelhead are comfortable they are much more willing to grab a fly. Reports of fish caught in Cowee Creek were solid. Some were found at the top of the intertidal area as they arrived and others were upstream fish. We have found that steelhead like to bomb right through the intertidal zone and then rest in the first deep run above it. They don't tend to stay there too long before heading up river and holding in deep runs. Remember these aren't coho that like to sit in a pool with no current. Steelhead are rainbow trout and rainbows like some current. Look for deep cut banks or runs coming out of pools where the current flow is the speed of a quick walk. Boat accessible spots on Admiralty Island also produced good catch rates.
We didn't hear about many fish caught on the swing. No surprise the fly most likely to be lodged in the corner of a steelhead's mouth was a Liquid Wrench in #1. Pink/Cerise and Orange/Cerise were the colors of choice. But with another week of warm weather, the water temperature is slowly increasing so a swung fly has a better chance. Our Grab & Go Selection of Steelhead flies was popular and is an easy way to get a handful of the hot flies for the week. Thanks to all who got some!
On to Dolly Varden! Beach fishing has been picking up steadily. Each day has gotten better this week with schools of marauding Dollies off of local beaches. We called DIPAC and asked about their fry releases and THE BIG NEWS IS they released half of their chum salmon fry this past Wednesday (May 13th) at the Hatchery, Amalga Harbor and Sheep Creek. And this coming Monday (May 18th) they will release half of their coho smolt. In addition to all these baitfish in the water, DIPAC staff has been finding enormous amounts of smelt in the channel. It is not something they typically see and the smelt are averaging 2" - 6" long and the schools can be in the thousands. Don't be afraid to fish a large fly for Dollies! The feeding frenzy is going on and spots around Sheep Creek (both the creek mouth and the sandy cove near the old Thane Ore House), Salmon Creek mouth at low tide, North Douglas directly across from Salmon Creek, the beach by the whale statue, or anywhere in the channel where you see arctic terns dive bombing the water are good spots. Bracket the low tide (2-3 hours before low until 2-3 hours after low) and move around of you don't see fish.
It seems like Olive & White has been the hot color of late. Stinger Clouser Minnows, Epoxy Mini Minnows and AK Clouser Minnows have all worked well. The color of choice can change and having some Black & White, Gray & White and All White options in your box is a good idea. Once again, you can order the Grab & Go Dolly Selection or pick them out individually.
How about a little photo contest? We want to see your Dolly Varden photos and we'll award the best one of the week with a free hat of your choice. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org your Dolly fishing photos and we'll post some of the best in the fish report. A few notes about what we are looking for:
- Live fish about to be released only! No dead ones, fish laying on the rocks, etc.
- Either keep them in the water for the photo or a quick lift out of the water.
- Handle them gently. Please no fingers in the gills or death squeezes.
- Scenic photos of anglers fishing for Dollies are great, too.
Show us what you got!
Shop Status and more.....
In an effort to keep you updated on the shop and what we are doing to keep the fly fishing vibe flowing, we'll make weekly announcements here. First off, we sent out a short survey last week via our local email newsletter. We are really interested in knowing what you think and the best way to keep you out there fishing this summer. We really think getting out on the water is one of the best ways to reduce stress, enjoy life, and still be responsible and safe. If you didn't get a chance to fill out the survey here is a link to it. We'd love to hear from you.
The shop still isn't open to foot traffic and we just keep taking it week by week and will make changes as the situation in town allows. The order online and pick up curbside seems to be working well for most folks. We understand that some of you really want to be able to come in and browse and believe us, we want that, too! But until we feel it is safe for us and you we have to hold off. If you have any questions about getting out fishing, not sure what gear you need or just want to check in, don't be shy about calling us. We're in the shop Monday - Saturday and are happy to help. 586-1550.
Get out fishing this weekend!